Don’t let a change in season stop you from adventuring! Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay home and knit. Don’t tell July and August, but off-season camping is where it’s at!
Go camping in October or November and you’ll experience fewer crowds, colorful trees, better prices and cooler weather. If you’ve been wanting to rent an RV — do it in the fall. Costs drop significantly. You’ll find a great deal.
It’s time to hit the road and check out these awesome fall camping activities. Make sure to bring lots of layers to keep you warm. We recommend packing up some firewood (where fires are allowed) and tons of marshmallows. Snuggle up with your besties to keep warm.
Acadia National Park (Maine)
Visit Maine during Autumn and treat yourself to some brilliant fall colors. Leaves begin to develop deep yellow, red and orange hues in early September. Acadia National Park is one of the best places to experience fall in the Northeast.
With 3 campgrounds inside the park and many more just outside, you’ve got plenty of places to pitch your tent. Blackwoods Campground is easily accessible from Bar Harbor. And a great spot to view fall foliage.
If you’re looking to get further away from it all, check out Duck Harbor Campground. This beautiful and remote campsite is located on an island only accessible via boat. Each campsite includes a 3-sided shelter to pitch your tent under plus a fire pit. Be sure to make a campsite reservation so you’re not stuck out in the cold.
Great Smoky Mountains (Tennessee & North Carolina)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a number of beautiful campsites for car and RV campers. If you enjoy camping in the off-season with a vehicle for comfort, be sure to check out this national park. Creeks, waterfalls and jaw-dropping views are a big reason to go camping in the Smoky Mountains.
Prepare for fluctuating temperatures if camping in October or November. Highs can hit 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Lows can be in the 30s. Higher elevations may see snow in November.
Big Bend National Park (Texas)
Head South for a fall camping trip and you’ll find great weather. Big Bend National Park runs along the Texas-Mexico border. It’s huge — 1,252 square miles to be exact. And offers tons of fall camping activities.
There are five river canyons located in the park where you can kayak, canoe or raft the Rio Grande. Bring your own boat or sign up for a guided trip. You’ll float along in awe at the large canyons carved from the rushing rivers.
Looking for something a little more chill? Stargazing in West Texas can’t be beaten. Big Bend National Park is in a remote location — clearing the way for quite a nighttime show. Pack a stargazing chart or download an app to help you identify the constellations. Then just lay back, relax and enjoy the mysterious beauty of our universe.
Yosemite National Park (California)
If you don’t mind a little chill, fall is a great time to visit Yosemite. The summer crowds have cleared out and you’ll feel like you have the park all to yourself. Just pack accordingly. Make sure to check the National Park Service’s website for road and trail closures due to snow.
Daytime hiking and biking trips are pleasant during October and November. Cool temps mean you won’t be sweating as much. Although Yosemite Falls and other waterfalls may be dry during this time of year. Don’t miss the huge Sequoia Tress in Mariposa Grove. You’ll feel tiny amidst these giants.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Michigan)
The midwest is one of the best areas in the U.S. to view fall foliage. Plan an off-season camping trip to this Michigan national park and you’ll enjoy plenty of breathtaking views. Pictured Rocks is situated along Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
If you’re willing to brave the chilly autumn months of October and November you’ll have plenty of space to yourself. Make a reservation at one of the park's 3 campgrounds. Kayakers will love exploring the shores of Lake Superior. With 40 miles of beautiful sandstone cliffs, you may feel like you’ve traveled across the globe to Thailand or the Mediterranean Sea.
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve (Colorado)
Want to go camping in October and November in Colorado? Head to Great Sand Dunes National Park. This is the adult sandbox you’ve been dreaming of.
Summertime sun can make the sand sizzling hot during warmer months. But hit the dunes in the fall and you’ll be able to experience so much more. During the day view the incredible colors of the changing Aspen tree leaves. Grab a sled and fly down the dunes like a kid. Learn more about sand sledding here.
At night you’ll want to look up. If you’re camping during a full moon try hiking the dunes at night — you won’t even need a flashlight. If there’s no moon, you’re in for some serious stargazing. Great Sand Dunes National Park experiences little light pollution from surrounding cities. Lay back and enjoy a stunning show.
Camping in the Off-season
Sure, camping during the summer is awesome. But true adventurers love to explore nature with fewer crowds. Fall camping activities are endless and you’ll have more space to yourself. Campground reservations are easier and prices are better.
Round up your crew and head out for an adventure this weekend. Check the weather and make sure to pack plenty of blankets and snacks. Take along your favorite SpiritHood and don’t forget to tag #spirithoods in your pics.
Now get out there and explore!